Take a Scotch on the Wild Side


Although Yankees know it by the name Scotch you don’t want to order such a drink in a Glasgow pub unless you want a punch in the eye. “Scotch” is a pejorative term for a person or product hailing from Scotland. When combined with the word “whiskey,” it is that country’s pride and joy – a beverage only properly consumed while wearing business attire and a smoking jacket and reciting lyric poetry. It makes sophisticates out of sophists, men out of mice, and has been known to sprout fuzz on the chests of the hairless.


So, philistines, you had better learn how to enjoy it in style. Get thee to the Brandy Library in Tribeca, where one can enjoy a vast selection of aged brown liquors in an environment hospitable to after-work conversations, live jazz, and even quiet reading. The “library” refers to the extensive book selection – all about spirits! Then, there are the tastings. On most Fridays, one can find distillers, producers, and blenders offering samples of new products. Don’t worry if you have a beginner’s palette. “The majority of people who attend go for the first time,” says host Ethan Kelly, and he’s been organizing the events for eight months.

If you want to learn in greater depth, “Spirit School” is starting up in late January. Classes are held on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and you can sign up for an in-depth discussion on the spirit of your choice. Tuition is $80 per spirit.

For all of you self-educators out there, here’s a BeautyNews guide to reading the labels on your bottle of Johnnie Walker:


RED LABEL ($18-$23)

What’s in it?
Thirty single malts, grain whiskies, cloves, and butterscotch.

Did you know?
The first and bestselling whisky since 1950. One bottle is consumed every 4 seconds of every day, but fortunately, not by the same person.

BLACK LABEL ($28-$30)

Forty whiskies aged in oak casks and blended for 12 years.


A “blended” malt (no grain whisky) with hints of spice, green fruit, & nutmeg. It was once available only in duty-free stores


A mellow blend of 15 different whiskies with caramel, honey, and vanilla flavors. Extremely popular in Southeast Asia.


A soft blend of some 17 different whiskies with hints of smoke, sherry, fruitcake, and dark chocolate. So rare that each bottle is individually numbered.

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